The Rutgers Food Innovation Center South incubator facility houses shared-use food processing space for a broad array of products and processes, marketing capabilities and technical laboratories, distance learning and educational programming, and administrative space for staff as well as clients. The business incubator facility enables new companies to be formed, and provides a vast array of resources and technologies to existing food companies as well. This facility is designed for use by farmers and cooperatives, startup food companies, existing small and mid-sized food companies, and retail and foodservice establishments who are assisted from concept to commercialization, and enabled to have new product prototypes tested and evaluated, and to have their products produced in a state-of-the-art food processing facility that meets the regulatory standards of local, state and federal (both FDA and USDA) agencies. A full spectrum of processors can benefit, from fledgling startups in need of basic small scale processing capacity to sophisticated businesses in need of pilot or test market processing for the development of new products.
The food incubator facility layout includes a Shared-Use Processing Area and a Client Services Area in support of the capabilities listed above.
The Shared-Use Processing Area (highlighted in green and blue colors on the diagram above) enables a broad range of value-added agricultural and food products to be produced such as, jams, jellies, soups, sauces, beverages, baked goods, frozen entrees and side dishes entrees, etc. Some of the equipment in the shared-used processing area include:
- Refrigerated Foods Processing Room
- Refrigeration controlled facilities for fresh-cut produce, or value-added meat, poultry or seafood products
- Equipment in the refrigrated processing room
- Beverages and Hot Processing Room
- Processing equipment for Beverages, Soups, Sauces, Stews, Salsas, Jams and Jelly, Grilled and Roasted Vegetables, and Prepared Entrees
- Equipment in the wet / hot processing room
- Bakery and Dry Processing Room
- Processing equipment for Pies, Breads, Cookies, and Confectionery products
- Equipment in the bakery and dry processing room
- Cold Assembly/Clean Room
- Packaging of perishable products in HEPA-filtered clean room
- Equipment in the cold assembly / clean room
The Client Services Area (highlighted in gold and red colors on the diagram above) allows for both business and technical mentoring and training services. Dependent on the Scope of Work for a project, clients can be assisted from concept development, to commercialization, to development of a marketing and selling strategy by Food Innovation Center staff. Likewise, a client may only have the need for assistance with a specific deliverable, such as sensory evaluation of a product. The Scope of Work, budget and timeline is always customized for each client. The Food Innovation Center does not recommend or perform services using a “cookie-cutter” approach. It is critical that we understand each client’s goals, and develop project deliverables based on specific goals and client knowledge and capabilities.